Each year, I have a stack of Christmas books I re-read. I have added two new one’s this year – The Noel Diary from Richard Paul Evans (another Christmas keeper) and A Dog Named Christmas and Christmas with Tucker by Greg Kincaid, which I haven’t started yet. My nine year old has a stack of Christmas books of his own, which includes his favourite Christmas at Stony Creek by Stephanie Greene and The Cat That Climbed the Christmas Tree, a Golden Book.
We received three other Christmas picture Books (November is Picture Book Month) from Raincoast Books, two of which I read to him and one which I won’t.
I am very careful about Christmas. I won’t let my son watch – or read – anything that may destroy the magic of the holidays so therefore any book that puts into doubt the existence of a certain magical person does not pass my test. My son truly believes. He has no doubts because I don’t put him in those situations that cause doubt. We don’t to go to the mall at Christmas, I avoid events if the man will be there (why do people insist on having him at every event?) and I won’t read him Ninja Claus! by Arree Chung ($24.99, Raincoast Books, Henry Holt & Co.).
Maxwell is a ninja and last year when he wrote a letter to Santa, he asked for a snake eating a rat. He received a hamster named Ted instead. This year, he asks a bunch of questions and suggestions he doesn’t want anything, but instead, could Santa sit in a certain spot to eat his cookies. Maxwell has rigged up a trap for Santa (I also hate that theme in children’s books. I think it’s awful on many levels). Maxwell then he falls asleep, waiting to catch Santa (which is ridiculous if you think about it. Santa can get into locked houses, do you think he can be fooled by traps?). His trap works and he catches his father, wearing a Santa hat and eating Santa’s cookies, which his papa confesses to eating every year.
The rest of of the book is really great including Santa’s response to Maxwell’s latest letter, but why? Why did the author need to put the part in about the dad eating the cookies? Was it simply for the enjoyment of the parent? Because as a parent, I can tell you that part wasn’t enjoyable. It also means the book didn’t pass the Lisa Day Christmas test and I won’t be reading Ninja Claus! to my son.
My favourite of the three books was Only YOU Can Save Christmas! A Help-the-Elf Adventure by Adam Wallace ($23.99, Raincoast Books, Sourcebooks) except for the one line that said “What the Elf”, which literally made my mouth drop when I was reading it to myself the first time. Children know what it really should say, FYI, and for it to be in a children’s book is terrible. When I read it to my son, I completely skipped that line. It isn’t funny. I am pretty shocked that line made it through the editing process.
The rest of the book was quite cute and quite funny. I liked that it was an action book, in that your child was asked to do a variety of things like honk, whistle and shake his butt in order to gather the gifts Santa needs for Mrs. Claus. For a man who brings joy to children around the world, I believe his gift to his wife is going to be a major disappointment. I feel there may be a fight Christmas morning.
The 12 Sleighs of Christmas by Sherri Duskey Rinker ($23.99, Raincoast Books, Chronicle Books) was cute in both story, told in rhyme, and illustrations, particularly the elves. The elves are doing their last-minute check when they realize Santa’s sleigh is completely destroyed. The elves decide to host a contest to see who can create the most amazing new sleigh and Santa gets to decide which one he will take on Christmas Eve. From rigs, to snowplows and UFOs, the elves work really hard in the lead-up to Christmas Eve to make the biggest and best sleigh.
Copies of these picture books were provided by Raincoast Books for an honest review. The opinions are my own.